My Husband, My Boss?

Spouses of ADHD adults sometimes nag, micromanage and damage self-esteem over housework and chores. Here’s how to divide and conquer.

Carefully! Your non-ADHD husband means well, but his “tutoring” suggests that he thinks you’re incompetent.

Sit down with him during a quiet time, when there are no distractions, and tell him that you love him but that his stream of instructions upsets you. Understand that his urge to “teach” you is probably based on the fact that you tackle chores differently — in your own ADHD way — than he does.

When you have the conversation, do the following:

> Explain how his teaching hurts your self-esteem, and get him to agree to stop.

> Draw him out on why your approach to tasks makes him want to correct your actions, so you better understand his perspective.

> Develop a plan to address his concerns in a way that will be effective and comfortable for you. For instance, if he doesn’t like the way you do the dishes, both of you should agree on who does what, create a list of steps to complete the task, and review progress every three weeks.

Make changes, if needed.

Melissa is co-author of a blog on ADHD and marriage at, and is currently writing Married to Distraction with Dr. Ned Hallowell and his wife, Sue.

This article appears in the Winter 2011 issue of ADDitude.
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